Volunteer militia force being formed in Niger

A volunteer militia force comprised of civilians is being organized in Niger in response to a potential military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following a coup late last month, according to media reports.

Recruitment for a civilian militia force called the Volunteers for the Defense of Niger (VDN) will commence Saturday in the national capital of Niamey.

Volunteers interested in joining VDN will gather at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium where anyone older than 18 can register.

Similar efforts are also set along the borders of Nigeria and Benin.

The militias will assist the military in various capacities, including armed combat as well as medical care, logistics, technical and engineering support when needed by the military administration.

A similar militia group with the same name exists in Burkina Faso, offering support to the army in counterterrorism efforts.

During a meeting in Ghana, the ECOWAS chiefs of staff announced that a date was agreed for military intervention in Niger.

ECOWAS declared that its soldiers are ready to intervene as soon as orders were given but the specific date of the operation was not disclosed.

Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard, declared himself last month the head of a transitional government after President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted by a military coup.

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